Alto, contralto and mezzo-soprano who is now credited with here married name, Lorie Gratis Harris. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, Temple University and West Chester University (nee West Chester State College), where she sang in The Chamber Choir.
In 1986, The Cambridge Society for Early Music presented her with The Erwin Bodky Award in the field of Voice. Before she had even finished school, she had already recorded at least one album, The Philadelphia Singers’ Gloria! Gloria!, in 1987. In 1989, she graduated from the Curtis Institute. She participated in the Bucks County Choral Festival in 1990 and 1996 in programs featuring music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Maurice Durufle, respectively.
In 1996, she appeared on and/or recorded no less than five albums: Bach: Mass in B-Minor; J.S. Bach: Magnificat/Orchestral Suite No. 3; G.F. Handel: Faramondo; Jane’s Hand: The Jane Austen Songbook; and, Vivaldi: Magnificat (Venice Version)/Gloria. Other recordings from the ‘90s included A European Christmas and Handel: Alexander Balus, in which she played a messenger.
Somewhat of a Handel specialist, she played the role of Irene in a production of Theodora at the 2001 Maryland Handel Festival and Conference, in tandem with the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra and the University of Maryland Chorus. She returned to the recording studio and was one of the featured soloists on Rossini in Venice, released in 2002. In 2003, she performed in a pair of concerts with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia featuring composers that ranged from Franz Joseph Haydn to Charles Fussell, whose “High Bridge” she helped premiere. She ended the year in a Christmas concert of Handel’s Messiah with the Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola.
In 2004, she made the cut on the 40-disc boxed set, Handel: The Masterworks: You can find her somewhere in the middle performing the role of Childerico in Faramondo. In the autumn of 2006, she appeared at Lyric Fest performing a pair of cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and with the North Penn Symphony in a double bill that comprised Leonard Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony and Mozart’s “Coronation Mass”. She also performed Beethoven’s 9th in concert with the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra and Choirs on 29th April 2008. In 2009, she portrayed the role of Galatea in Tempesta di Mare’s production of Handel’s Aci, Galatea & Polifemo.
In the field of musical education, Lorie has taught voice at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, West Chester University and Eastman School of Music.
The Philadelphia Singers recordings
Adeste Fidelis (Frederick Oakeley/John Francis Wade)
RCA 6559-2-RC (Gloria! Gloria!)
Soprano – Benita Valente
Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Conductor – Michael Korn
Here’s Benita Valente performing “O Holy Night” with The Philadelphia Singers and the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on Gloria! Gloria!…